Forget the future: What is happening right now that we need to be aware of, but aren’t?

Nobody does predictions any more, they do “scenarios”, but I suspect that trying to guess anything at all about the future may be worthless.

Imagine that in the world 20 years from now, there is a new and important factor.  Perhaps a technological factor, or something cultural or political.  Anything.  And that this is a factor that doesn’t exist today.  It should be easy to think of such factors in our own world that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

What can you possibly hope to say about that future world without understanding that factor? Very little.

What we should be looking for today instead is things that already have happened, or are happening right now, that we haven’t discovered or fully understood yet.

Think of the financial crisis, back before anyone knew about it.  There was a big crisis in the future, but if enough people had discovered it earlier, there would have been a smaller crisis in the present.  A 2007 “scenario” about the future of the world economy would have been worthless.  What we needed was someone to say “there’s something going on here that we all need to pay attention to.”

Even correct statement about the future are probably more useful when rephrased as statements about the present.  “Future workers will behave like this!” vs “today’s children have such and such characteristics”.

What is happening right now that we need to be aware of, but aren’t?  Stop trying to extrapolate from your current knowledge.  Open your eyes.  Pay attention.  Tell us what you see.

2 Responses to Forget the future: What is happening right now that we need to be aware of, but aren’t?

  1. Pingback: Trying to be ignorant about different things than everyone else « Bjørn Stærk's Max 256 Blog

  2. Pingback: Science Fiction Hall of Fame – Volume Two A « Bjørn Stærk's Max 256 Blog

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